Mitt Romney Flip-Flops On Climate Change
It seemed like a straightforward question on a second-tier issue: Would Mitt Romney disavow the science behind global warming?
The putative Republican presidential front-runner, eager to prove his conservative bona fides, could easily have said what he knew many in his party’s base wanted to hear.
Instead, the former Massachusetts governor stuck to the position he has held for many years — that he believes the world is getting warmer and that humans are contributing to that pattern.
Romney’s answer to the question about climate change last Friday during his first town hall meeting since announcing his second presidential campaign allowed him to demonstrate what he hopes voters will see as a new and improved candidate — an authentic leader with core convictions.
But the exchange in New Hampshire also served as a fresh indicator of Romney’s great quandary. He must shed the flip-flopper reputation that haunted his last presidential campaign while also appealing to conservative voters wary of his past support for near-universal health care, abortion rights, same-sex marriage and other positions befitting a politician elected in liberal Massachusetts.
So far, Romney’s reviews from the right are not positive. His views about climate change in particular put him at odds with many in his party’s base.
“Bye-bye, nomination,” Rush Limbaugh said Tuesday on his radio talk show after playing a clip of Romney’s climate remark. “Another one down. We’re in the midst here of discovering that this is all a hoax. The last year has established that the whole premise of man-made global warming is a hoax, and we still have presidential candidates that want to buy into it.”
Then came the Club for Growth, which issued a white paper criticizing Romney. “Governor Romney’s regulatory record as governor contains some flaws,” the report said, “including a significant one — his support of ‘global warming’ policies.”
And Conservatives4Palin.com, a blog run by some of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s more active supporters, posted an item charging that Romney is “simpatico” with President Obama after he “totally bought into the man-made global warming hoax.”
A Romney spokeswoman declined to comment about the criticism but did provide excerpts from Romney’s 2009 book, “No Apology ,” in which the candidate articulates the same environmental positions.
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.
National Review’s Katrina Trinko tries to argue that Romney really hasn’t changed his position here:
In June, Romney made similar comments, saying, “I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. … I believe that humans contribute to that. I don’t know how much our contribution is to that.”
So while Romney did not specifically mention that he believed humans are partially responsible for climate change in these comments, he has previously been careful to stress how little is known about what causes climate change and how he himself is uncertain over how much of it is caused by humans. It looks like it would have been more precise for him to have said “we don’t know fully what’s causing climate change …” and noted that he believes humans are playing some role, but this is not the first time Romney has stressed how little is known about what is causing climate change.
Nice parsing there, but it strikes me that this just plays into the general perception on the right that Romney will do whatever it takes to get elected. How else to explain backing away from the position he took in June?